Making Much of Jesus as a Way of Life
Wednesday - March 23rd
Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 4:17-32
That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. Ephesians 4:20-21
As Calvary Community Church reached out to me about potentially being their next Senior Pastor in the summer of 2008, I wanted to know the church's history. To understand the future of a church or to cast a vision forward for it, you need to understand what the original vision looked like. I believe that you cap the potential of the ministry's future if you fail to grasp the original vision of the founding generation. So, on my first visit to Calvary, I wanted to meet the founding pastor and his wife - Larry and Beccy Dewitt.
Lesli and I had a great lunch with Larry and Beccy. John and Dottie Dobbert joined us. John was a Calvary elder and my only connection to the church. We both had served on the Awana Clubs International board in Chicago, and God used our friendship to open the door to Calvary. Before that lunch, any discussion about the potential of Lesli and me moving with our kids to California to join the Calvary team had been minimal. But speaking that July Sunday in the services at Calvary and spending time with Larry and Beccy began a stirring from God in my heart as a pastor.
If you were to ask what I heard at that lunch that started that stirring, I would say it was something very simple that Pastor Larry said in our time together. When I asked him to summarize what his passion and vision for Calvary had been in his more than a quarter of a century as Calvary's founder and Senior Pastor, Larry didn't hesitate. "To make much of Jesus," he blurted out with convictional passion. I know it sounds strange, but I heard those words ("make much of Jesus") as if I had never heard them before. Such a simple phrase with such profound meaning. It was both aspirational and inspirational all at the same time.
Isn't making much of Jesus ultimately what every follower of Christ and every local assembly of believers should be doing all of the time? As Larry said it and described how making much of Jesus shaped everything at Calvary over the years, it was refreshing. Over my 13+ years at Calvary, we have attempted to keep that original theme part of all we do. After all, it is about Jesus.
In Ephesians 4:17-19, the Apostle Paul describes how our minds, hearts, and lives are empty and adrift in sensuality and greed without Christ. After his dark description of our lives before Christ, Paul says that Christ changes everything when we focus on Him. "That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus" (Ephesians 4:20-21). Paul calls us all to make much of Jesus in our lives and what others see in us.
Today (3/23/22) is Pastor Larry Dewitt's 85th birthday.
Happy Birthday Larry! Thank you for investing the vast majority of your life in making much of Jesus. Thanks for still keeping Christ at the center of your life and ministry. Everyone who knows you sees our Lord through you!
Calvary exists today because people in those early days joined Larry and Beccy Dewitt in making much of Jesus!
As we make much of Jesus, others come to Him and begin to walk "in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus."